Monthly Archives: August 2012

On the results of 2012 London Olympics: Energetic records of animals and man

A. M. Makarieva, V. G. Gorshkov

  • Who is the Champion of Champions: Sergey Kirdyapkin, Ivan Ukhov, Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps?
  • What would have happened to a flea had it jumped to a height of 2 meters?
  • In which sports is man second only to the donkey and the elephant?
  • Long-term disqualification of Homo sapiens on the Olympics of Life

All animals can move. But each species has perfected in a particular type of motion. Some animals set records in running, others are particularly good at walking or crawling, yet others are outstanding arboreal acrobats. Swifts fly better than anybody else, but they are pathetic on land where they can only crawl very slowly searching for a small hill from which they could take off. Loons fly very well both in the air and underwater, but they cannot walk. It is a huge problem for a loon to approach her nest moving on the ground – because of that the loon must build the nest very close to the water edge of a lake or a river (they cannot nest on the seashore because sea water comes and goes with tides). Moles can dig tunnels under the ground at a rate of up to 10 cm per second, but they practically never show up above the ground. Brachiating monkeys that rely on their hands to move in the tree canopy make great acrobatic performances on the trees but avoid coming down to the ground.

How are all these and other species-specific skills maintained? The answer comes from considering the stability principles of life organization. Continue reading